UNITED (United for Libraries) Division
The Idea of Universal Access; a Letter to Anne C. Boyle Re: FCC Reforming Inmate Calling Services Ratesby Alec McFarlane on Fri, Jul 12, 2013 at 08:06 pm
President and Members of United for Libraries
This is a letter I wrote in regard to the recent FCC Hearing. I've shared this elsewhere in ALA Connect and especially with ASCLA members and committees. The question I'd bring forth to the United members is how Friends groups, in conjunction with our Trustees and Foundations can impact this issue. My immediate thought, as a Library Friend, is that of the need for a friends group to facilitate something like this, especially where prisons are cited as being remote locations dependent upon local people, services and goods. Only rarely will these people have family close by, and this is cited as impacting recidivism rates.
Further referenced context can be found at: http://connect.ala.org/node/156827
Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library
Lastly this letter, in conjunction with other postings and activities we are undertaking, begs the question: what is Universal Access?
For Public Release
Commissioner Anne C. Boyle
2nd District, Omaha, NE
Nebraska Public Service Commission
Re: The FCC Program:
Reforming Inmate Calling Services Rates
July 10, 2013 - FCC Commission Meeting Room
On behalf of Alice Hagemeyer, my boss and mentor at the LDA, I wish to thank you for your stewardship today at the FCC and for your warm welcome afterwards. We count ourselves fortunate to have had the chance to speak with you and some others in attendance. The appearance of Talila Lewis, the Founder of HEARD, as a panelist was the one of many reasons we wanted to be at this program today. Ms. Lewis understands what is happening in the deaf community, and that understanding extends to the LCD or Lowest Common Denominator, our inmates. Alice and I realized, in retrospect, that the workshop had not mentioned the library or the assets of the library. On that account I forward you my recent work in Chicago with the ALA or the American Library Association in abstract.
There are eleven (11) divisions at the ALA (http://www.ala.org/) and I am a member of two of those: United for Libraries which is composed of friends, foundations, trustees, and the likes (http://www.ala.org/united/), and the ASCLA or the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (http://www.ala.org/ascla/) which, among other things, concerns itself with prisons and prisoner rights to access to information and where a "Prison" (or for that matter a "Jail") has a library it is specialized and private, hence the "Specialized" moniker in ASCLA. The NIH or the National Institute of Health, for instance, has a private library that is considered Specialized. and this is by no means limited to governmental organizations as there are obviously many private libraries and museums in America. These all contribute to our national well being. I am no expert in prison or library issues, but we do -- at the LDA-- deal with and advocate for deaf civil rights. Our primary vehicle for this advocacy has been the pursuit of the DCDL or the Deaf Cultural Digital Library we proposed in Maryland (http://msa.maryland.gov/msa/mdmanual/26excom/defunct/html/11deaf.html) and as noted herewith. We would like to see Maryland be a model for the Nation and for the World, but that is another story. As we envision the DCDL at the LDA, this is a state-level public library that serves all four types of libraries. This is supposed to be a library about the deaf, but for everyone. Especially since anyone, anywhere, anytime, anyplace can become deaf and because the number one disability of veterans coming back from the war is auditory.
Our close cousin, the NLS or the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped was founded in 1931, and we are not here to complain but to show how some of our friends-in-arms have utilized existing systems we identify as part of the American PPP or Public/Private Partnerships.
There is a lot more that I can, and will, share with you but to encapsulate this problem we accept that people are afraid of what they do not know. This FCC subject matter being of a national problem and of a national program; the practical subject matter is that the phone --as such-- is no longer just a phone where the phone itself has always posed technical challenges. We have to think about what happens when you no longer have a phone, so to speak? What is a phone anyway? A land-line directly traceable to a single location or an internet-enabled device? And usable by whom? And... if I am allowed to venture, why not a closed system? It seems to work in certain areas of the world. The only constant in life is change so we --again at the LDA-- have been proposing that we all (as in every one of us) make accessibility --for anyone-- the key. How does the cost come down? By supply and demand? By innovation? By wise use of resources?
Forgive me, I was leading you on; I am saying it is the wise use of resources (hint, you're inside the beltway now... not out yonder in Nebraska). On this account I think that the ASCLA, and by way of the ALA, deserve a good look in relation to this matter; no one is going to get rehabilitated without valid, reliable, and useful information by any means... and that includes --but is not limited to-- telecommunications, multimedia, and other means of communication. If the American Inmate system is a closed system and is subject to monitoring, that does not take away from the elemental fact and need of communication.
Thank You for your time and consideration
Alec C. McFarlane
Library for Deaf Action (LDA)
2930 Craiglawn Rd.
Silver Spring, MD 20904-1816
ALA Member 2004704
Ladies and Gentlemen of United for Libraries
The following re-post is from the ASCLA SIG "Bridging Deaf Cultures @ Your Library" and it is significant to our Library Friends and others of United where we have a big role to play in the creation of the DCDL in America. As I said in the Friends Section posting, the government is looking hard at the public/private relationship... hard at how the private citizens and organizations can better support (finance) public libraries. While the DCDL will be a state-level public library, it will be serving all four types of libraries as a specialist. The DCDL or Deaf Cultural Digital Library is about the deaf but for everyone. Getting the deaf community involved in this is critical, not just for the library as the DCDL will be known, but for the community itself which is hurting.
Part of the idea of this post is related to the fact that the DCDL is coming to a town near you, the DCDL is a library that should be on par with the NLS or the National Library Service. In order to do this I will be depending heavily upon my United comrades.
Irene Padilla, the Assistant State Superintendent, Division of Library Development & Services, and the chair of the DCDL Task Force (TF) has announced that the first meeting is tentatively set for 10am January 7th 2013. See previous postings for md.gov links to the law (HB 390/SB571). The Maryland legislature convenes on January 9th, 2013, the first day of a 90 day session.
While this TF is on a tight schedule, we have the benefit of Ms. Padilla (who is also technically the Maryland State Librarian, just that we do it a little different here) who has been working with us on the DCDL since 2010 and further that two of the other TF members are our legislative sponsors; Maryland Senator Karen Montgomery and Maryland Delegate Eric Luedtke who introduced, and passed, the bill last year. Combined with our legislative record on this particular law and the relative familiarity the subject has, I am confident we can push this back to the floor completed in time for consideration by the General Assembly. If it passes, it will be the first state-level library of it's kind in the nation, and possibly the world.
Note that the MD.gov 'General Assembly' website has changed, you should be offered a redirect to the new site. I will make update reports here following the January 7th TF meeting, as well a post new links as may need be.